Nov 2012 | Marketing Solutions | Segmentation

This article will discuss how brands can leverage existing segmentation as part of their online acquisition strategies providing 5 key recommendations for putting segmentation at the heart of online acquisition. First though it’s worth explaining why existing segmentation isn’t used in online acquisition strategies.

For years now brands have bought into the idea of segmenting their customers so that they can personalise offers and increase profitability. This then informs the acquisition strategy which is then developed around acquiring those most profitable segments. Seems obvious enough but in a significant number of instances brands are not using this segmentation as part of their online acquisition strategies.

There are two main reasons the first being that in the majority of cases segmentation sits at the heart of the brand in the customer database. As online marketing has matured many of the tools used to implement and optimise online acquisition campaigns have not had links into the customer database and as a result there has been no easy way of using the existing segmentation in online acquisition campaigns.

Secondly there are often internal barriers for brands to overcome. This is often down to how internal team structures have involved. It’s common practice to see a brand’s offline marketing team and insight and analytics teams working side by side but often the online marketing team does not have the same level of interaction. Possibly this lack of interaction is down to the fact that as already discussed there is often no link between the tools used to implement and optimise online acquisition activities and the customer database.

The good news for brands though is that now a simple API can link the database with online acquisition tools. Data can now be imported into the customer database much more easily and as a result my five recommendations should be relatively straight forward to implement. In putting these recommendations together I’ve linked four of them to the four main online acquisition channels, search, affiliates, email and display. The other recommendation sets out to address one of the main reasons existing segmentation isn’t being used online.

Here are my five recommendations to leverage existing segmentation online:

  1. Review team structures and make sure the online, offline and analytics teams are working more closely together. This should ensure campaigns are ‘joined’ up and that existing segmentation is used across both online and offline.
  2. Build existing segmentation into keyword optimisation strategies. If you use a bid management tool ensure an API links it with the customer database. Keywords should be optimised depending on which segments they are driving.
  3. Display activity should be deployed on sites with a profile that matches your most profitable segments. Online intelligence tools can be used to profile the demographics of proposed sites for advertising and this can be matched to the brands existing segments.
  4. Affiliates should be rewarded with commission that reflects the customer segment that the brand is acquiring from them. A higher commission for a customer in a profitable segment and a lower commission for a customer in a less profitable segment.
  5. Acquisition email addresses should be profiled against your most profitable segments. This should improve campaign ROI.

Of my 5 recommendations, recommendation 1 is the one that will deliver long term success and ensure that the brand is set up better to understand multichannel and cross channel challenges and opportunities and gain competitive advantage.